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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 11, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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author's website. ..
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>> and now, from the 20 -- 2011 roosevelt reading festival philip terzian discusses his book "architects of power" roosevelt, eisenhower and the american century. it is about 50 minutes. [applause]honod >> thank you, and good morning and i am honored and delighted to be here.i at the roosevelt reading festival. i don't live around here so iusm don't get to visit the roosevelt library very often. of henry morgan thaw who was fdr's neighbor here in duchess county and probably knew him as much as anyone and said that roosevelt had a thickly-forested interior which meant that roosevelt was a
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very rather enigmatic, um, distant, almost secretive man in many ways. but i've always felt that when you visit the house, especially, and walk around and look at it, you get as close as you'll ever get to appreciating franklin roosevelt as a human being and where he came from and what he was and how he became what he did become. and i'm delighted to be here, too, at the roosevelt library which is the first of the great president -- we often forget that franklin roosevelt invented the whole concept of presidential libraries. it was his idea to preserve his papers and memorabilia here on the grounds of his, of his old family estate in 1940. and, um, i'm a great fan of presidential libraries around the country and have made it my
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lifelong task to visit each one. and so i'm patiently awaiting the george w. bush one in dallas which is supposed to open sometime in the next year or two. i'm angling for an -- a friend of mine is an official down there, so i keep hinting at there must be some panel discussion or something that i can come down to see it. [laughter] um, i have a sort of, if you'll excuse a digression for a minute, i have a sort of crackpot theory about presidential libraries and museums which is tangentially connected to my book, and that is that i think that they reflect in some ways what i call the civic protestantism of america. and by that i mean we don't as a culture, we don't revere religious relics so much anymore. we don't, we don't bow before the fragment of the true cross and that sort of thing. but because america is a nation founded on an idea, we've sort
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of substituted that human instinct and transferred it to our political founders. so you go to the archives in washington where i live, and there's the declaration of independence and the constitution, and they're housed in the these brass and glass helium-filled rell squares which are completely reminiscent of the sort of medieval ones that you see where one of christ's thorns or one of the fragments of the true cross is located. and you go to presidential establishments -- mount vernon, monticello, recently montpelier, james madison's home in virginia has become a sort of museum and center -- and here they're wonderful institutions because they have brought together every conceivable object, paper. i know, i've been writing a
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little bit about the madison house, and they have surveyed all the general region, they've found furniture that madison had owned and touched, articles of clothing, toothpicks, spectacles, everything you can think of. [laughter] and they're all lovingly collected and under glass which i think is wonderful. but if you look at it from a sightly skew as i do, it's kind of interesting, too, the way we retrieve these things. and i think it also, it also belies the idea that americans are not interested in our history. i think we're deeply interested in our history. not every american is as interested in others, but i think our presidential libraries and museums definitely, definitely reflect a national interest in our, in our past. um, now, if you'll forgive a die depression, the reason i mentioned all that is that in this, in my little monograph i
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address myself to two, two themes. one is i wanted to make some biographical observations about these two individuals who are usually not united historically. we don't think of fdr and eisenhower together. but my thesis is that they did come together at a very strategic moment in american history, and, um, it's to our long-term benefit that they did. um, but secondly, i'm very interested in historical memory, how we look at the past, how our views of the past change and evolve. the speaker just before me, professor moy, has written this wonderful book about the tuskegee airmen, and he quoted a 1925 army air corps study of african-americans in the
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military. and it's full of these terrible condescending, one might say racist views of black people which we are, which we, of course, recoil from, obviously, from today. but we always have the sense in history that right now we've come to a consensus and that our attitudes at this moment are the correct ones and that all the wisdom of, you know, the past was complicated and people had kind of strange ideas about things. but now we've got all the research in the, and everything -- we've come to our senses. and so now the current thinking among historians is the right thinking. um, and i was struck by that, um, a dozen years ago when i covered the dedication of the franklin roosevelt, um, memorial in washington. i don't know how many of you have visited it. it's on the mall near the world war ii memorial.
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um, which is another wonderful story that i sort of tangentially covered over the years. um, the roosevelt memorial, actually, was, um, it was dedicated in 1997 which was, um, what, 52 years after fdr had died. and there was this -- and they had been contemplating a memorial to fdr almost from the time he did die. um, and there was this general sense that they could never come to a conclusion, that there would be a, there would be a design submitted and congress would approve, and then there'd be some obstacle, the archives -- i mean, this just went on and on for decades. when are we ever going to get a memorial to franklin roosevelt? and it was finally dedicated in 1997, a half century after he died. and my reaction to that was, well, it was actually more or less on schedule because not too far from the, from the roosevelt
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memorial is the lincoln memorial which you all know, and that was dedicated in 1922 which was even longer after lincoln's death than the fdr memorial was dedicated after his death. so these things always have a kind of gestation period. and also things are not, things are not always as they seem. we now regard the lincoln memorial as a national treasure, and whenever we want to have any kind of unifying event in washington, people are always careful to stage it in front of the lincoln memorial with abraham lincoln sort of benignly looking down on them and the reflecting pool in the front. well, i grew up in the washington, d.c., and i'm now old enough to remember when i was a little boy there were still elderly women in washington, friends of my mother's, who still were not really very happy that the mall had been gummed up with a memorial to abraham lincoln. so we don't always, we don't
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always arrive at these consensuses instantly. but what interested me about the roosevelt memorial is that as with many monuments to historical figures, it really tells us almost as much about the times in which the memorial was made as about the subject of the memorial. and i think that's particularly true in fdr's case. my own opinion is that i don't know that -- i mean, i'm, as a great admirer of franklin roosevelt, i'm delighted that there is a memorial to him, and better the one there is than none, but i'm not a huge fan of the fdr memorial, and i don't know that it's really a memorial that he would particularly like. we have a, we have a notion of what he considered a good presidential memorial because fdr was the, was the, really, the energy behind the building of the jefferson memorial in washington.
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it's a kind of funny side light on franklin roosevelt personally. he as a good democrat, of course, always paid o bee sense to thomas jefferson, and i always thought fdr slightly overdid it a bit because all of his forebearers -- isaac roosevelt, old james roosevelt -- were all hamiltonians to the core. the roosevelts, in the time of jefferson, none of the roosevelts thought very much of jefferson. so fdr kind of overdid this. and, once again, i think there should be a monument to thomas jefferson in washington, but that nice neoclass call structure that you see along the tidallal basin, and i've always thought was fdr's taste, the memorial, i think, is very much a 1990s view of franklin roosevelt.
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and, um, i say this partly out of, from design conviction. and i don't think the structure is what he would have particularly liked. but, also, it's franklin roosevelt that we now think about historically, and that is the franklin roosevelt of the new deal. the fdr memorial in washington heavily concentrates on the depression, it concentrates on his domestic policies, on his conservation, his stewardship of, of national parks and so on, all of which is true. but to the total exclusion of certain other aspects of him. you would never know that the great conservationist was also one of the great dam builders of the 20th century which is somewhat anathema in our time, but fdr thought that was a very logical thing to do, to generate energy and to put people to work. also you would never know that this was a monument to the man
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who prosecuted the greatest war in american history and very vigorously prosecuted it. and i don't think reluctantly prosecuted it. so one of the -- and i think that's, i mean, obviously, any student of roosevelt will know that, but when you go to the roosevelt memorial in washington, you're only seeing the -- you're, essentially, seeing the 1997 sort of congressionally-approved view of franklin roosevelt. and this happens with historical figures all the time. i mean, in the journalism particularly we always when we refer to fdr, it's always the fdr of the new deal. and similarly, my other subject -- the somewhat unlikely partner of fdr, dwight d. eisenhower -- the only time he ever gets quoted nowadays in the press is that one sentence in his farewell address where he warns against the power of the military industrial complex
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which he believed and which is true and which is valid. but it's just a speck in the great ocean of what eisenhower really represented and is a little bit, i think, misleading. and similarly, with fdr i think that while he is the, obviously in be my view, the dominant president, the greatest president of the 20th century and, obviously, the man who invented really our modern politics in many ways, he was also a global theorist. he was also a man ambitious for american power in the world. um, and, um, as with all such things you often wonder where did this come from? why did roosevelt think this way? what, what made him a kind of liberal imperialist, to use a scholarly term, as he was?
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why did he actively pursue a kind of american, what i call an american empire without colonies which is to say american power around the globe, um, but without necessarily acquiring real estate the way the europeans tended to do? and i think the answer comes from biography. franklin roosevelt was born in 1882, the united states in the immediate post-civil war, i mean, the united states has never been a deliberately imperial nation. we never have set out to create a map of the world that's colored red, white and blue in various places like the british, the spanish or others did. but we have a kind of, we've kind of become imperial is a bad word these days, but i can't think of an alternative. we have become a global power to
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some degree through inadvertence, but also -- and when i say inadvertence, partly because of the vacuums of power we have filled especially after world war ii, but also deliberately. in the period after the civil war when franklin roosevelt was born, the united states became very much an economic superpower, competitive with the british. we didn't have the strategic power that the british empire did at that age, but we certainly had comparable economic power. um, and another point is that we often tend to forget that because the oyster bay roosevelt, that is to say the theodore roosevelt branch of the family was somewhat hostile to the hyde park/franklin roosevelt branch of the roosevelt family, we forget that, n., they -- i mean, alice longworth used to make fun of eleanor roosevelt and this, that and the other, but they were closer than we think. and, in fact, not only did
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franklin roosevelt marry theodore roosevelt's favorite niece, but he also regarded theodore roosevelt, as he said, as the greatest man he ever knew. and i think theodore roosevelt's influence on his distant cousin, franklin, was a reality in his life up until his death even though we tend to ignore it. remember, too, that theodore roosevelt became prominent at strategic moments in fdr's life. franklin roosevelt was a schoolboy when theodore roosevelt became mckinley's assistant secretary of the navy. he was at school when theodore roosevelt charged up san juan hill. he had just become, just entered his sophomore year at harvard when theodore roosevelt became president. so roosevelt's vision of an american sentry, of a
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globally-assertive united states was something that was bred into franklin roosevelt really in his youth. and i don't think ever left him. and all through his public career you hear kind of theodore rooseveltian rhetoric. i was just reading and listening the other day to his third inaugural speech where he talks about, um, in lincoln's day the great challenge facing the presidency was danger from within. now we are dealing with danger from without, namely fascist nazi germany and fascist italy. but ea also ends -- but he also ends about the mission of the united states is not only to be vigilant about this, but also to defend and promote democracy
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around the world. um, so it's a consistent theme in his, in his public life that is, um, i think, striking and striking to some degree because it's not, it's not really recognized as such. there's this, i think the historical consensus about fdr is still, as about any historical figure, it's still in flux. but that, um, he was fundamentally a domestic politician who dealt with the depression in the first two terms of his presidency and then as the war in europe came, he suddenly had to pay attention to world affairs and became what he did. and i think that's not quite true. i think roosevelt was thinking globally from the very beginning. um, certainly if you go back to his tenure as assistant secretary of the navy under
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woodrow wilson, um, he was a constant promoter of -- which is an interesting innocent incidens life because the president, wilson, was a kind of diffident person as far as foreign relations were concerned. he felt that the united states should refrain from interfering in foreign affairs. he department think that we thought that -- he didn't think that we thought that we should be very restrained in our use of american power. roosevelt -- wilson's secretary of state, william jennings bryan, was a pacifist who really was a pose today the exercise of american power, resigned because he thought the wilson administration was getting too belligerent by 1915. fdr's immediate boss was a will sewn yang and a disciple of bryan's who looked upon the
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uniform navy with kind of bemused suspicion. he was always reluctant to use the navy in any way. and, of course; this was all anathema to franklin roosevelt who spent his entire eight years as assistant secretary very, in that wonderful way of his, very charmingly but effectively undermining his boss on a day-to-day basis. the extent to which franklin roosevelt was insubordinate in the wilson navy department toward his boss, i mean, when daniels would leave town, franklin would have fun and do all sorts of things which daniels would have to undo when he returned. and yet the amazing thing is that daniels retained his affection for fdr. he loved franklin roosevelt. he actually survived franklin roosevelt. i think he, i think he thought of franklin roosevelt as his kind of like a naughty nephew that he indulged. but it's a kind of interesting
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thing. and, of course, in the 1920 roosevelt was the vice presidential nominee. on the democratic ticket, he was a strong supporter of wilson's, of course, by then wilson had become an internationalist as we now think of him, promoting democracy abroad, the 14-point program for the reinvention of europe as a kind of american-style democratic community. um, fdr was a strong supporter of that after the war, after, i mean, after the election which the democrats lost. america lapsed into a kind of isolationism, but franklin roosevelt was very active in the founding of the council on foreign relations in new york which was a gathering of kind of -- actually, it was a kind of republican organization. it was very much dominated by henry stimson and william howard taft and some of the other republican elder statesmen.
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probably would have had theodore roosevelt in it if he hadn't been president. but fdr was part of that. and i've always thought it was interesting, and, actually, there's some fdr -- fdr did some writing in the 1920s both for small newspapers and for magazines, and almost invariably -- not almost invariably, but frequently on foreign topics. and a strong proponent of america in the wilsonian sense as a beacon of democratic enlightenment. we have this power, we have this great example of our people and our system, and we should be promoting this to the extent that we can around the world, that we're challenged by alien ideologies in russia and in germany and italy and elsewhere and that america is a beacon of hope. there's an interesting incident in 1932 right after, um, the
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election. you may know the story. fdr is president -- of course, in those days there was a four or five-month gap between the election and inauguration which was in march, not january. and fdr famously paid a courtesy call on president hoover, and somewhat to his surprise and annoyance, hoover had with him another duchess county neighbor of fdr's, ogden mills, who was the secretary of the treasury in the hoover administration. and the reason hoover had mills there was that hoover had wanted some sort of bipartisan confidence-enhancing measures during this ambiguous transition period. and he wanted to get roosevelt onboard. of course, nowadays we would think of this as wonderful bipartisan cooperation, isn't it nice, republicans and democrats getting along and uniting for the good of the country. well, fdr was deeply annoyed by
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this. he didn't want to get anywhere near uniting with the hoover administration on anything, um, and declined to issue the statement that hoover wanted him to. nevertheless, the one person that roosevelt did meet with during the transition from the hoover administration was henry stimson who was hoover's secretary of state. who was another new yorker, henry stimson lived on the north shore of long island, but he, like fdr, came from an old new york family, so they probably had a lot of concentric circles in the roosevelt/stimson orbit. but roosevelt actually asked stimson who was secretary of state to come here to his house in hyde park where they had a long meeting, with they discussed -- where they discussed, of course, by that time the japanese were on the
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march in manchuria, and also there was a pending meeting on, um, the world economic conference in london which stimson would have, would have attended if hoover had been reelected. but roosevelt wanted his views on things. so the one aspect of bipartisanship and cooperation and all that during transition as we now call it that fdr welcomed was on, in foreign affakr&9ñ um, i make the point in my book that one of the most important points of the roosevelt presidency, um, came a few years later, um, when he, in 1937 when he gave is so-called quarantine speech in chicago which, i think, a very important event, i think, in the roosevelt presidency. but it's also a very important
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event in american history because it kind of lays the groundwork for american foreign policy really ever since. and it's interesting because by 1937, of course, hitler had come to power five, six weeks before franklin roosevelt was inaugurated as president. mussolini had been in power in italy for a decade. the japanese, by then, the rather fascist japanese were on the march in asia. the world was getting dangerous. by 1937, of course, hitler had remilitarized the rhine land, mussolini had invaded ethiopia. it was clear that the fascist parties in europe were, were aggressive and ambitious and college rent. belligerent. but roosevelt, of course, was stymied by several factors, one of which being public opinion.
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um, most americans in 1937 felt that we had been sold a pig in a poke in world war i, that we had fought and hadn't really -- we'd lost 100-plus-thousand troops, but we hadn't really gained much of anything. europe had gone back to being its usual argue meantive stuff. here they were again, the germans and the french and the poles and the british all at each other's throats. who knows how it will turn out. you know, this is nothing to do with us and, you know, if we get involved, it will have the same unhappy end although x number of americans will die in the process. so isolationism was a widespread and bipartisan viewpoint. we often forget that some of roosevelt's most vigorous isolationist opponents in congress -- it wasn't all partisan. a lot of them were new dealç democrats. one of the most prominent isolationists were senator
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burton wheeler of montana who was otherwise one of fdr's closer supporters on -- and most southern democrats tended to be less interventionist and so on. so it wasn't, it was hardly a republican even though the republican party at that time was predominantly isolationist, it was a bipartisan sentiment and reflected in the neutrality acts which were a consequence of legislation in the mid 1930s that came out of, utterly, democratic-dominated senate which reflected that, that point of view, but also was once again reflected, i think, the predominant views of most americans on the subject, um, effectively tied fdr's hands from, in any sense, intervening and showing favortism in helping
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people that we liked in the hostile act against people of whom we disapproved. by 1937 i think franklin roosevelt was one of the few political leaders in the democratic world, small d democratic world, global democratic world who perceived the genuine threat that came from the fascists in europe. and in 1937 he went to chicago to the dedication of a bridge. and as with many presidential speeches, the occasion was neither here nor there, but the location, i think, was significant. chicago was, of course, chicago is more or less the capital of the midwestern united states. the midwest is the, at that time, was the citadel of isolationism in the united states, and chicago was the home of roosevelt's old classmate,
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colonel robert mccormack, who was the publisher of "the chicago tribune" and by far america's most prominent and vociferous isolationist. so he came to chicago, he came into the lion's den to say, in effect, that america, that to lay out what he felt -- and this was all done in kind of slightly ambiguous language, but clearly he's saying that we face a threat from the rising tide of authoritarianism in europe and that the united states, uniquely situated as we are, uniquely conceived as we have been as the great democratic republic, we must be the great arsenal of democracy. that's where that phrase, that term comes from. and that we of all nations must prepare ourselves for the coming challenge, um, and this will not only be a political challenge, but a literal military challenge
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that we must, we may, we may have to do this, we may have to do that, we may have to fight. so, um, i think that that is kind of -- that has kind of been, i mean, if you look at the incremental development of american foreign policy since, since the war -- the truman doctrine and so on -- that is kind of the overall design of american foreign policy. we don't, we don't want to, you know, we don't want new zealand as a colony or anything like that, but wherever democracy is under threat in our, in the world america stands there and says, not so fast. i mean, i think, certainly, president kennedy's inaugural speech in 1961 is very much an expression of the, of the rooseveltian quarantine speech thesis. so i, my, my mission in my
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little study was not, you know, in history we always are going over the same facts and interpreting them in light of either current wisdom of current thinking or how thinking evolves on things, but my, my intention was to try to look at franklin roosevelt in a slightly different way, as a global thinker and not just because global responsibility was thrust upon him as it was in world war ii, but because this was something he had devoted really much of his life to and thought through very profoundly and had very strong and deeply-committed feelings about. now, where does eisenhower come into this? since we're at the roosevelt library, i've -- i'll just mention parenthetically, i want today concentrate on fdr.
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and, in fact, my book is, to some degree, almost a little bit more about eisenhower because eisenhower, the historical consensus on eisenhower is, i think, in much more flux than as about fdr. you have to make the case a little bit more for eisenhower. but once again with eisenhower youok have someone who in the,n the what i call the journalistic memory is, was this general who was elected to two terms as president. then just as he was leaving the white house, he had this epiphany that, oh, my goodness, the military industrial complex is very dangerous, so i should mention that and warn before i ride off into the sunset. and i think that's a terrible simplification of eisenhower's thinking. um, not only because, um, it's misleading, but eisenhower, too, had, um, had spent his whole life pondering these questions as roosevelt did. but in the guise of an officer
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in the army. um, harry truman famously said ike's going to be miserable as president, he's used to being in the army where they, you know, do this, do that, and he expects everyone to jump. that was really not true. truman was one of the most -- eisenhower was one of the most politically experienced people to enter the presidency. he had, he had been, worked for the chief of staff in the 1920s, he'd been in paris in the 1920s working for general pershing at the battle monument's commission, he was the war office -- war department, rather, in the early 1930s. he spent the late 1930s as macarthur's deputy in the philippines, building up the philippine army as, prior to independence. general marshall brought him back prior to pearl harbor because he had recognized in eisenhower a gifted junior officer. he brought him into the war plans division. he actually tasked eisenhower who was barely at that point a
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brigadier general with the plans for the defense of the philippines. he did the same thing with, when it was decided after pearl harbor to, um, mount an invasion of north africa from the west. the british were pushing rommel from the east, and we were going to land in morocco, and marshall tasked eisenhower with the, with the design of those plans. so eisenhower came to the presidency not only a great diplomat-general, but someone with, who knew a lot about the way washington worked and who'd been dealing with global issues for a dozen years by then. he not only was the great diplomat-general of world war ii, he had held together the grand coalition of the second world war, the allied coalition. after the war he was the army chief of staff, he presided over
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the desegregation of the army that professor moy talked about a few minute ago. he, and he took leave of absence as president of columbia university to be the first military commander of nato in paris because at the time it was recognized if there was one american we can send to europe who personifies the american commitment to nato, to the freedom of western europe, to america's continued responsibility in the world, it would be dwight d. eisenhower. and last but not least, eisenhower was over in, um -- the story of eisenhower's nomination is often forgotten. in 1948, for example, james roosevelt, franklin's son, had been one of many prominent democrats who tried to get general eisenhower to run for the presidency as a democrat. and eisenhower declined largely
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on the basis that he didn't think, he was a professional soldier, and he didn't think that it was appropriate for him to be involve inside politics. but by 1952 things had changed, and his great fear at that time was that the republican party, the likely nominee, was senator taft of ohio who was the most prominent isolationist in, in the republican party and, really, this country. and eisenhower felt that the only way that this republican party could be saved from isolationism and that the post-war consensus that had grown between the two parties about america's role in the world would be, frankly, for him to run for president partly to, to prevent taft from being the nominee and probably becoming president. so that was really eisenhower's instinct. i won't bore you with details of the eisenhower presidency, but
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what intrigues me about roosevelt and eisenhower, too, is that you have these two vivid figures in american history who are utterly dissimilar personally. if you have the, if you have the pleasure of visiting the eisenhower library in homestead and abilene, kansas, and compare it to the roosevelt homestead here in hyde park, you'll see the social difference between the two. they're two exceedingly dissimilar places, not to mention western kansas being very different from the hudson valley. but nonetheless, you have these two very dissimilar individuals who, nevertheless, thought alike on what, in my view, the most critical challenges facing the country at the most critical time in our modern history which was at the end of world war ii when europe was prostrate and exhausted, and the united states with its vast economic and by then military power found itself
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presented with the responsibility of superpowerdom. not something that the united states particularly wanted. i don't think americans are an imperial-minded people. but nevertheless, that what fdr talked about in the quarantine speech, that defense of democracy that to be the great arsenal, the both political and military arsenal of democracy was, came to the united states at that time. and you had these two, probably the two most famous americans of the time, dissimilar as they were -- one republican, one democrat, one a kansas farm boy, one a new york aristocrat -- nevertheless, thought exactly the same on that critical issue. and their, their mutual interests coincided. fdr, after all, did deliberately choose eisenhower. he had wanted, initially, general marshall to be the supreme commander of the allied
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invasion of france but chose eisenhower knowing, i think, to some degree this was going to make eisenhower, if he succeeded, a historic figure and, perhaps, a political figure. but i think it's a kind of a nice story about america that these two very different people, um, did have, did have common views on a critical issue and that we were fortunate as a country to have the service of the two of them simultaneously. and that the world that they inherited and dealt with is the world that we know today. so -- [applause] >> [inaudible] if you have a question, please, come up to the microphone. >> thank you, mr. terzian, for that wonderful lecture. um, i'm a huge fan of "the
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weekly standard" and have been for many year. one of the things i most appreciate about it is that the articles there frequently portray franklin d. roosevelt in an appreciative and admiring light. it's one of the few conservative periodicals that does this. i recently defended finishing dr to a -- fdr to a professor, and my question to you is if by some miracle roosevelt had lived to finish his fourth term, what do you think his take on stalin would have been? what would their relationship have been like? >> well, let me just make a comment on your earlier. the weekly standard likes fdr. and we like the sort of
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roosevelt/truman/kennedy approach to foreign policy in the democratic party. when i took my present job, um, i was putting my various things in my office. and one of them, they have a few over here in the library, i have a clock which has -- it's franklin roosevelt, it's this little statue of fdr, and he's standing sort of holding the clock as if it's a, um, a ship's wheel. and it says at the wheel of the new deal. and i put it on this table behind my desk, and i remember our editor, bill kristol, come anything and looking at that and saying it's truly a neoconservative office. we have a shrine to fdr here. [laughter] i think, you know, who knows? i mean, it's always difficult to tell what historic figures would think about anything after their death. i mean, democrats are always lecturing republicans
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confidently about what lincoln would think about things, you know, he'd be horrified by the republican party today. um, some -- [laughter] somebody asked, somebody asked me the other day on a panel what would, what would people like franklin roosevelt think of annie wiener. [laughter] -- anthony weiner. and i said, first of all, the first 20 minutes of my answer would be explaining to him about computers and the internet and twitter which many people alive today don't fully comprehend. so, i mean, it's an unanswerable question. however, to answer your question i think roosevelt gets an unfair rap about that. i think that, i mean, 25 words or less, i think at yalta he was, he and churchill were presented with a fait accompli. i mean, the red army was in west, was in germany and poland and czechoslovakia.
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it was not their fault. it was hitler's fault that they were there. i don't think, you know, the soviet union at that time was our ally. i don't think there was any -- i think they did what they could, but thanks to the germans the russians were where they were. and i think short of suddenly making war on our ally who had just defeated the germans, it makes no sense to me. and certainly, i mean, roosevelt famously thought that his charm could, perhaps, manipulate stalin to some degree. i think he underestimated the degree to which stalin was psychopathic about things and impervious to the sort of charm that roosevelt could exert. um, but there's a lot of evidence if you look at roosevelt's correspondence, certainly, toward the end of the war that he was under no illusions about either stalin or soviet intentionings at the end of the war -- intentions at the end of the war.
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now, where that would have led, i mean, i tend to think the truman administration was the roosevelt administration as it would have proceeded. it certainly was many of the same people. um, so to answer your question, i think that roosevelt was, um, his thinking evolved a little bit in dealing with the soviet union. but i think on the whole he had no illusions about, about what the soviet, the nature of the soviet union, certainly stalin. >> thank you. >> sure. >> this is a country of immigrants. roosevelt family came early. they were in trade, china trade, international. it's a mindset, it's right down to the roots of who he was. he was an international -- >> right. well, that was developed, that was the delano family. actually, it was in the china trade, but you're right, of
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course. >> when, when roosevelt hosted, hosted, um, winston churchill, his family said my family were, you know, among the first families here. churchill said, and my family greeted them because churchill -- [laughter] was from his american roots, an american india. >> right. >> these people were international, global figures in their roots. i think we have to remember that. now, if you're from kansas, you're in the middle of the country. eisenhower's in the middle of the country. if you're at all enterprising, you reach out. eisenhower was an international figure. my father happened to know him as a cadet at west point, as commandant general of west point and as president. my father was an international-type person. that's a lower social order, but he knew these people. >> well -- >> you know, they're international people. we're immigrants. we're world people.
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>> no, that's an excellent point, and i would make one other point about eisenhower which is often ignored. he was, he was from kansas, but he was a german-american. and he was, he was very conscious of the fact that he was a german-american. and one of his, one of the reasons eisenhower was especially aggrieved at the end of world war ii when he saw what the germans had done when he visited, um, bellson and some of the other concentration camps, he felt a personal shame as a german-american. and he famously said at bellson, and it's an interesting sentiments with modern resonance that he said he was viewing the atrocities and the carnage and the piles of bodies and what not, and he said that he wanted to make sure that this was publicized as much as possible because all through this war people have complained that they
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don't understand what we're fighting for. if they see this, they will at least comprehend what we're fighting against. so, um, eisenhower's germanness -- by the way, i drove up here, i have a smart car, so i took the sort of back route through pennsylvania, and i wanted to avoid 95 if possible. and went through gettysburg which is, which is, of course, where the great german wave of immigration moved west from philadelphia and down into virginia, and that's where eisenhower's forebearers were from. people often wondered why he settled in gettysburg after world war ii, and it was actually an ancestral area for him. so -- >> unfortunately, we've run out of time. mr. terzian will be signing copies of his book right after the session. i invite you to go over there if you want to have a book signed
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and thank him again for -- >> thank you. thank you very much. [applause] >> when the deepwater horizon exploded on april 20, 201,050 miles off the coast of louisiana i was in houston with a group of oil activists, not activist is the wrong word but a group of people who lived in oil impact the communities around the world, nigeria angola kazakhstan alaska, california, texas, mississippi who had all come together in houston for chevron, annual shareholder meeting and they came to explain to the shareholders what it means to live in a chevron impacted community a place for
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chevron operates. and while we were there, it had been a couple of weeks or in the course of our time there after the explosion happened, after the loss of life of 11 men, after the oil started flowing, when we realized that this not only was an enormous loss of life and not only was this an enormous disaster but a really crashing reality to people like itself who had spent a significant amount of time setting the oil industry who have been a significant amount of time being in places where oil operations take place. something donned on all of us. the oil industry had absolutely no idea whatsoever what to do about a deep water blowout, none at all. they had said they knew what to do. they said they had planned to know what to do. the reality was that what they knew how to do is somewhat deal with the blowout at 400 feet and for most of the time since
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really the 1970s, most deepwater drilling mantra lang at 400 feet below the ocean surface. this well and what deepwater drilling means now is drilling at 5000 feet below the ocean surface and that is the ocean here floors at 5000 people low. this well was another 13,500 feet below that. actually, a well slightly further out, not even the deepest well anymore is another well that is as far down as mount everest is up. and what we found out was that even though they guarantee to us that they knew what they were doing, they were trying to apply technology developed in the 1970s for 400-foot wells to a 5000-foot well, and they didn't know what they were doing and they weren't able to stop the gusher. and not only that, but they had
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guaranteed us that where they are to be a blowout and everybody knows that there can be a blowout because that is what you plan for, the gulf of mexico is one of the most difficult places to drill in the world. one of the reason why is it is very gaseous. there is a lot of gas there. it bubbles up and kicks and makes it very difficult. everyone knows this and every plan for drilling in the the gulf says we can handle blowouts. blowouts have been increasing in the gulf, happening more and more frequently. the people on that rig new that this rig was having a difficult time. in fact, this was the second rig to try and drill this well. the previous rig, the marianas, had been kicked so hard that it was kicked right off of the well and had to go home. the deepwater horizon was a replacement. the deepwater horizon was $100 million over budget. it was many many many days off schedule and the people on the rig knew that they were in
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trouble. and they knew there could be a blowout in the industry had promised that they could handle and oil spill were it to happen, $300,000 -- 300,000 barrels of oil per day. what we found out that likely at its worst this spill was 80,000 barrels a day and yet they had no capacity whatsoever to deal with it. they did not have ships ready to contain the oil. they didn't have underwater vehicles ready to address the blowout. they didn't have boom to protect the sure. they did not have scammers to skim it up. they hadn't prepared it not only that even though after the 1989 valdez disaster they had been committed to responsible for and legally be obligated to invest in research on what to do if they had an oil spill and prepare for it. they hadn't, none of them. we are using the exact same knowledge he that utterly failed
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after valdez for only 14% of the oil was cleaned up. today in response to this. now to put this into scale, what happened because they didn't know what to do and they spent three months walking around -- that is not fair. they were trying very hard. they sat around the table and they were trying very hard. there were scientists and engineers very hard at work. they wanted to stop the gusher but they could not for five -- three long months and what happened in the course of those three long months and that is just a time in which the gusher was flowing, right? they finally did figure out how to put a cap on it, thank goodness but they actually didn't know and actually felt secure that well was closed until five months later when something else happen and that was the drilling of the well. what the industry knows how to do very well is drilled but what that means is that basically what they know how to do is drill and if we have another blowout there is no reason to assume that a cap will be able to be applied because the only
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thing they are sure that work with the relief well. that means there is another low out which we should anticipate us five more months were the boiling but we know about the deep water and remember this is new. there is only 148 of these operations in the world and have basically been going on for about 20 years. they are pushing out this far because there is a watt -- lot of oil out there so what we know about the deep water is that when you have an accident, it is a long way to go to get to it and there is a lot of oil, and to put the amount of oil into context we have all been hampered in being able to explain it really grasp and put into words the significance of this and the size of this bill and that is because we can't say the word that would make it that much more dramatic which is the largest oil spill in world history. there is only one reason why they can say that and that is because saddam hussein
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intentionally, in the most blatant way possible, used oil as a weapon in 1991 and intentionally opened up oil pipes in tankers to attack american and british troops with oil in kuwait. and that is hands-down the largest oil spill in world history because he did it intentionally. had that not happened, this would be hands down the largest oil spill in world history, 210 million gallons of oil release. one thing we know for sure, and when i started, when this happened and we learned it was going to be bigger than we thought, and that the 11 men who died, the story wasn't going to end with them and it wasn't going to win with their families. it was going to spread and it was going to spread to all of the people across the five state to live around this, that might largest body of water and was going to affect the sea life and it was going to affect everything they lived in the ocean but the thing to know about the gulf coast is
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everything that lives in the ocean is part and parcel to everything that lives on the lan. is part and parcel to all of the people and their livelihoods and their understanding of their community. and the effect on the seas and the effect on the people and the livelihood of the communities of those people. and what i learned in going down in just the first couple of weeks and the first couple of days that i was there was one this was a huge story and two, transparency was so difficult. getting information was so difficult. the first time i went down private security guards, police officers, sheriffs were keeping us off the beaches. we couldn't go look. you couldn't take teachers. you couldn't record the event. one of the things was controlling the story became important for everyone involved in one tool that bbu lies that was very powerful, you saw the pictures and i hope you saw them in the beginning that john was showing.
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greenpeace took such important photographs of this event, the photographs that capture it and they are used throughout my book to try and make tangible or imagery the story of this event. the capturing of those photographs became more and more difficult than one reason why was because you will remember the valdez, duest those photographs of the oil spilled birds spill birds that captured people's souls. people organized aggressively and the response to valdez. they shut down exxon stations and they protested and demanded policies and they got out of the wish administration, the bush senior administration a critical piece of legislation, the oil pollution act. similarly in 1969 at the coast of santa barbara when an oil well blue people organized. they were galvanized. they were ready. they saw imagery to capture their hearts and souls and a year later, they got th


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